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A day by the sea? Piriapolis and Punta Colorada

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Piriapolis is a small beach resort mainly frequented by Uruguayans, just over an hour’s drive from Montevideo.

It has a long promenade and a slightly faded 1950s air – its charm in my view.

The beach is wide and flat and as the water is extremely calm and shallow it’s an ideal spot to take small children.

piriapolis uruguay beach

The Hotel Argentino, the art-deco gem, was South America’s largest –and most glamorous– resort in the 1920s and is an iconic part of Piriapolis.

There is a chairlift up the San Antonio Hill which can be fun if hair-raising – it looks rather precarious – let me just say I’ve braved it myself and never actually heard of an accident ;). The view from above of the bay is stunning.

piriapolis uruguay beach

Even in the rain, Piriapolis is charming.

During the summertime and on public holidays, for lunch take a long walk out of town east (that’s left as you face the water) towards the village of San Francisco along the coast. About 20-30 minutes out, down some steps, lies Don Anselmo a picturesque seafood restaurant set over the water. Their sign is unmissable from the road.

Punta Colorada

After lunch carry on walking east past the gentle waters of San Francisco beach to get to a fantastic beach – Punta Colorada – the first truly Atlantic waters (apx 5 km out of Piriapolis). Beware, the waves can be rough.

Those skyscrapers you can see to the east are in Punta del Este. There are very occasional buses back to Piriapolis – or you can enjoy walking back into the sunset.

Why choose Piriapolis?

Besides being a seaside resort, Piriapolis is also a thriving little town of 8,000 people. This means that it has a large supermarket, lots of smaller ones, restaurants that open all year round. It’s also just 20-30 minutes drive from the mega-resort of Punta del Este.

This means that as a town there are amenities available off-season which is not the case in the majority of Uruguayan coastal towns. So you really don’t need to hire a car to get around unless you plan to explore elsewhere.

So who would I recommend Piriapolis to?

1. Piriapolis is a good destination for people looking for a no frills, relaxing, maybe even nostaglia-filled, holiday. If you are like me you will feel like you’ve stepped back into one of the seaside resorts of your childhood.

It’s an excellent option for families with young children (teenagers will find it boring unless they are with friends of their own age – and can roam free – then they will LOVE it) and adults looking for simple pleasures. Plan to hire a house rather than stay at a hotel.

2. It is a great day trip/beach destination from Montevideo.

If you’d like to see some of the Uruguayan coast and don’t have much time, this is probably your best option. Piriapolis is charming, accessibly sized to walk all over and the bus station is just a few blocks from the beach.

Buses leave Montevideo for Piriapolis every 30-60 minutes and take 1.5 hours. You can check the bus timetable online.

Photos: Many thanks to the generosity of resident Pirapolis photographer Olga Rivero Hernández who takes splendid shots with the aim of getting her town known – more power to her. See more of her work online at Piriapolis en Fotos

piriapolis uruguay beach

Olga’s shot of Piriapolis at night .

7 Comments

  1. Ana Laura

    January 16, 2017

    Hello!! I’m a Piriapolense by choice (I’ve lived here for more than 20 years) and I loved your article on our city. Just so you know, we have a very large community of foreigners here in Piriápolis, especially Canadian, English and German. I guess they love our quiet and peace.

    You have a really wonderful site, and your love for my country shows in every article. Thank you for portraying it so well!!

    Reply
    • The Guru of Guru'Guay

      January 16, 2017

      Dear Ana Laura, nothing makes me happier than to get positive feedback like yours from Uruguayans. THANK YOU. You have made my day. — Karen

      Reply
  2. Gustavo

    May 25, 2016

    Hola! De camino a PIRIAPOLIS pasas por balneario solís. Te recomiendo visitarlo e incluirlo en tu página web ya que fue elegido desde el año 1930 por la colectividad inglesa como destino de vacaciones. Algunas familias aún viven permanente también. Es residencial y tranquilo, con jardines amplios y un creciente circuito gastronómico de fin de semana (tres restaurantes). Te adjunto nuestro website x más info. : solisgrande.com

    Reply
    • Welshwitch in Uruguay

      June 7, 2016

      Gracias, Gustavo. Tengo una muy amiga quien tiene casa en Solís así conozco, inclusive almorcé en Garni. Una nota es pendiente, claro. Beso!

      Reply
  3. daniel

    January 15, 2016

    Hi Welshwitch!
    I´am uruguayan living in Sweden. I also lived in Great Britain like you. I just found your site through a facebook friend.
    I just wanted to pass by and say that you´ve done a great job. I will recomend the site to friends that wish to know about Uruguay but can not speak spanish..
    Have a great week-end.

    Daniel

    Reply
    • Welshwitch in Uruguay

      January 15, 2016

      Daniel, nothing makes me a happier than a Uruguayan who is happy with Guru’Guay 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to write and for recommending to your friends. Btw, did you see that I just (yesterday!) published a guide on Montevideo? The link is here http://guruguay-shop.com/shop/mvd-guide All the best, Karen

      Reply
  4. Barry Lipton

    December 21, 2015

    My wife & I are arriving in Montevideo on Jan 21,2016. We have an apartment across the street from the market.
    We are spending 5 weeks in Uruguay, we want to get a full Carnival Experiance. We are both veterans of Toronto’s Caribana Festival.
    Is there a site that has all the venues, streets, and different groups on it.
    We will be in town on the afternoon of the 21, how do we get to see the first parade that night?
    I would also like to go to Playa Chihauhau for that all over tan.
    I can’t figure out what bus would take us there, could you help.
    Your site is very helpful and I would like to drop by some day when we are there and meet you and say thank you. Counting down the days till we are there.
    Gracias

    Reply

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